Many fitness practitioners think of the burpee as the ‘perfect’ exercise.
It is a full-body move that combines cardio with strength as you throw yourself to the ground, support your own weight in a press up before springing back up and getting some elevation with a tuck jump.
The very word ‘burpee’ is enough to strike fear into the hearts of many gym-goers, and 10 reps in a row will be sure to leave you seriously puffing and glistening with sweat.
But if you want to really work on your strength and target muscle development, a great way to adapt the classic burpee is to add a dumbbell.
Why make this nausea-inducing move even harder? We hear you ask. Well, adding dumbbells allows you to target specific muscles in your shoulders and back.
It’s also brilliant for resistance training – conditioning your muscles to work on your strength.
And the good news is that there is less jumping in this version of the move – so the dumbbell burpee isn’t necessarily harder, just different.
Given that there are quite a few steps to doing a dumbbell burpee, you might need a helping hand to get you started.
Luckily – our fitness expert Melissa Weldon, master trainer at Sweat It London, is on hand to show us exactly how to do them.
Start standing up, holding a dumbbell in each hand – start with a weight you feel comfortable with before going heavier as you get more confident.
With your feet hip-width apart, bend over, lowering the dumbbells on to the ground.
Jump your feet backwards into a strong, high plank position – your arms extended, hands resting on each dumbbell.
Then jump your feet back up towards your hands, so that they land outside each dumbbell.
Deadlift the dumbbells off the ground, keeping your spine straight and thrusting forward slightly from the hips.
Then bend over to lower the dumbbells back to the ground and repeat the move.
Aim for ten reps, and try that three times with a 30-second break in between each set.
Tips for the perfect dumbbell burpees
Use weights you can handle. Using dumbbells that are too heavy for you can seriously affect your form – if in doubt, go lighter and build up. Form is more important than how much you are lifting.
Form is everything. You want to have good form at every stage of the move – particularly during the plank part of the burpee. Make sure you keep your core strong and don’t let your hips sag when you jump your feet backwards.
Use the right kit. If resting your weight on dumbbells is too hard on your hands – use weights that have a flattened side so you have a more secure base, or cushioned gloves may help.
Think about your spine. Keep you back flat throughout – particularly when doing the deadlift. You want to avoid having a rounded back, because this could lead to an increased risk of injury. A nice, straight back reduces tension and makes sure you are engaging the correct muscles.
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